First degree burns, those that only affect the outer layer of skin, are common but can progress to pose serious health risk if not managed well.
Signs of first degree burns include reddened skin, mild pain and swelling. If blisters form after the burn, then it has progressed beyond first degree.
Light burns typically caused by oil, water, sunburn or direct flame do not necessarily require the intervention of a professional, you can easily manage them using the following first aid techniques.
Cool it down
First, assess the extent of the burn. If it covers a small area in less delicate skin, cool it immediately using cold running water for 15 to 20 minutes.
If you cannot access running water, soak up a clean cloth in cold water and gently press it on the burn area.
Disinfecting the burn area is meant to kill any microbes that may infect it. Apply antibiotic ointment to the burn area after it has cooled down.
You may need to apply the ointment once or twice every day until the wound heals.
You can apply Aloe Vera to the burn to help the skin heal and prevent scarring. Aloe Vera also helps to prevent infection of the burn wound.
Cover the burn wound with sterile gauze once you have applied the antibiotic ointment. The gauze will help protect the wound from abrasion and particles that may hamper healing.
The above techniques are not applicable to electrical or chemical burns, nor those on sensitive areas such as eyes or genitals. In such cases it is advisable to seek professional help as soon as possible.